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im going to order my nexstar 6se with in the next week or so , and i have been looking at a couple of gps systems to add to it, i'm interested in the gps as it would hopefully give me a really quick setup time, as i have very limited amounts of time on my hands at the moment

first is the official celestron one at £260 which is a bit rich for my blood and to be honest doesn't really seem like good value for what is essentially just a small gps module.

secondly is the carina skyfi, which is quite tempting as it also allows for wireless control of the telescope via my iphone as well , retails at £149

lastly i have have read a few posts here and there about being able to buy an off the shelf gps module and a cable adaptor for around the £30 mark.

so does anyone have any knowledge on this subject ? any advice is very welcome.

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I'm very dubious about the value of a GPS for a scope - I can see its advantages if you are regulary using different sites to view from but if you're always in the same spot, then quite frankly, the setup routine for the NExstar is so easy and quick that GPS just doesn't seem worth it - the money would be better saved and spent on good eyepieces. That of course is just my opinion but hopefully it's "food for thought".

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I have a 6SE and I bought a GPS USB dongle from Maplins (£19.99) and I find it useful to ensure I have location and time precisely entered into the telescope each time I use it. It was only really worth it because (a) it was quite cheap, and (:) my OCD requires me to be absolutely precise with what I input. For all normal purposes I would say get your GPS location from the internet (if you only use one site, the telescope keeps that between sessions) and set your watch to the GMT website (to the second) and you won't go far wrong.

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if i had known about alternatives at the time, i would have plumped for them rather than the celestron one, also i completely misunderstood the reasons for having one, but it was there..........! Wouldn't buy one now. Agree re if moving around, but your iphone would give the same info for input anyway

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Thanks for the advice guys it's purely because I will be regularly using up to 4 sites , one of them being my home and I'd like to reduce the setup time.

Have you got a link for the maplins one? That sounds perfect

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also demon , are you happy with your purchase? who did you buy from and how much did you pay? only asking as im literally a week away from ordering mine.

any bits and bobs you'd recommend me to get for mine

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Product code of GPS dongle from the invoice is A94JJ

Optically the 6SE is a very nice little beast. It is compact, easy to set up and small enough for easy transport (even in my polo!)

Purchased from Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope - it was on sale at the time (under £700) so worth checking current price against other good providers - check the 'supplier review' section on SGL.

Problems:

When using mains power supply, the cable is so loose it disconnects when the scope rotates in az. Easy solution, use a couple of pieces of masking tape to hold the cable to the mount, so the cable does not 'jiggle'. I have found this to be 100% effective. There is also the more permanent solution of as explained to me by a couple of members (http://stargazerslounge.com/welcome/88987-new-nexstar-6se.html) - I've always been too scared to start prying pins apart inside my scope!

I could never get on with the red dot finder. Others on the forum appear to have no problems with them and think they are the best thing since sliced bread, so this is probably just me. I could never find the red dot - think it is something to do with the LP in my front garden - street lights in front of the finder. Anyway, I tried numerous options and eventually abandoned the finder option altogether. I only used it for initial alignment anyway. Now I use a wixey (Digital Angle Gauge with magnetic Base) and a one-star align, going from there.

Bits and bobs:

I would recommend you don't use AA batteries - if by a mains power supply, you can use a regulated adaptor (I do at home). For 'in the wilds' places, I use a maplin jump starter (product code A56FR). At least three times in the last 9 months these have been on offer at £25. Even at the current £40 they are good value compared to the £99 for the astro (17Ah) versions. Some people use 'leisure batteries', but I have no experience of these.

Levelling the tripod accurately is essential if alignment is to work smoothly. The small bubble level is ok (and I use only this), but a small builders level will not break the bank and you may find it easier. See how you get on with the bubble one supplied.

Particuarly if you are observing with others at a dark site, a red torch is a must. Got mine from AstroBoot for £2.

Download one of the free planetarium software packages. Stellarium is popular, personally I prefer CdC. They are both free, so try them both and see which you prefer. If you want a hard-copy atlas, give the tri-atlas at JR's website on Deep Sky Astronomy a go - again it is free.

As for the rest, I would say get used to your scope, and purchase other bits as you require them, when you know why you require them. This can be a very money-intensive hobby and it is easy to end up with a lot of very nice stuff that you never use.

HTH - any probs when it arrives, there is plenty of help on the forum. You are in for many happy hours at the eyepiece.

EDIT: just been thinking about dew shield - Piece of black cardboard (£2.49 from hobbycraft) with a notch cut out - I strengthened mine with thin rubber mat (from aldi), but used it as card only for months first. The left over card can be used to make a focusser (detailed discussion of that here: http://stargazerslounge.com/beginners-help-advice/100737-focussing-through-dslr.html)

Edited by Demonperformer
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Theres another way to hold the power cord in. Put an elastic band over the arm of the mount. Pull it away near the power cord and put a twist in it so its like a figure of eight - the power cord plug goes in the twist and the lacky band now pulls the pulg into the mount. Thats what I do.

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Yeah, if you can get the info off your phone all to the good. It is only a 15 second jobbie typing the info into the handset.

Do watch out for the time ... my GPS signal gives me GMT throughout the year. I enter it as GMT and tell the system I am not using DST, rather than converting it and entering yes to DST. Possibly an obvious point, but I mention it anyway.

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